No “for us” without us.

“You think you like your job, but you’re actually just wasting your life.”

“Your wife is a no-good loser you’d be better off without.”

“I just think that ‘atmosphere’ you’re in is making you into an asocial nut job.”

“Even if you think that knitting class you signed up for will be a fun way to spend your Tuesday evenings, someday you’ll look back and regret all that yarn.”

—-

Adult readers, if you had a friend who said these things to you, would you go “oh wow, you are a really smart person and I really want to be your best friend?”

No. You’d probably say something more like, “excuse me, but who asked you?” There are probably dozens of self-help books telling you not to hang out with people who do this. So…my question to you is, why do you do it to us? Specifically, why do you do it to us behind our backs?

Every once in a while I see these posts where parents run into other parents who are critical of homeschooling. Goodness knows my bio parents were. There’s always this “your kids aren’t going to learn social skills” thing and this “your kids are miserable, or even if they think they’re happy they’re just appeasing you” thing. The implication is that homeschooling is a soft form of child abuse and somehow public schooling is the golden standard of health and well-being for children (which makes no sense). What really bothers me about some of this is that no one seems to understand that children/teenagers are actually PEOPLE. If you’re worried we’re not happy/are feeling down/aren’t social/whatever, ask us. If you’re not friends with us then is it really your business?

I get the whole “voice for the voiceless” thing because I used to be the voiceless. My own mom started me in regular school at age two and would smack me for doing badly at math, then say it didn’t hurt and I was just being a baby. This is the same woman who later told a homeschooling family that they were doing the wrong thing. Uhm…well I guess if you don’t have the patience not to hit your kids for doing badly at math then you should probably not homeschool them but really if you’re that bad of a person you should give your children up to someone who can actually take care of them before a.) the state does it for you, b.) the kids get older and leave on their own.

If you were a friend of my mom’s during that time, how would you have known I was struggling/in real trouble? You couldn’t just look at my school situation, at what activities I was in, at what toys I had, etc, and make your conclusion there. You had to look at me. Talk to me and see how scared I was, all the time. Hear how much guilt and weight I was carrying around and how personally I took God’s wrath and the likelihood of me going to hell.

Seriously. Come on.

You can’t judge whether someone is socially deprived, secretly miserable, conforming to his/her mother’s idea of who s/he ought to be, etc, based on one conversation with their parent. You have to get to know the kid. If you don’t bother to look at or talk to us when talking about all the ways our parents are “screwing up” then it sends the message that you don’t really see us as people. You just want to one-up our families. Just like the rich people who talk about how they buy superior cat food and get hi-lights for Fluffy, you are showing off how much more “with it” you are than we are.

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